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Nature, Nurture, and the Transition to Early
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Stephen A. Petrill, Robert Plomin, John C. DeFries, and John K. Hewitt

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780195157475

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195157475.001.0001

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Adopted and Nonadopted Adolescents’ Adjustment

Adopted and Nonadopted Adolescents’ Adjustment

(p.109) 8 Adopted and Nonadopted Adolescents’ Adjustment
Nature, Nurture, and the Transition to Early Adolescence

Alessandra C. Iervolino

Oxford University Press

Persons under the age of eighteen adopted by non-relatives constitute approximately 2–3% of the population of the United States. Although the majority of interfamilial adoptions have positive outcomes, there is some evidence to suggest that adoptees might be at an increased risk of maladjustment, especially when the adoptees are selected from clinical samples. Although adopted infants and preschool children do not differ significantly from their non-adopted peers, externalizing problems and conduct problems become more pronounced among adoptees in middle childhood. It is unclear, however, whether adopted children continue to exhibit greater levels of maladjustment during adolescence. This chapter reviews current research and presents data that explore adoptees' emotional, social, and scholastic adjustment in the transition from early to late adolescence. Although adoptees show less favorable outcomes in some areas of adjustment, the differences observed between adopted and non-adopted adolescents are negligible and not representative of an increased risk of psychiatric and educational morbidity. These results further indicate that in areas of social adjustment and social competence, adoptees fare better than their non-adopted counterparts.

Keywords:   adoptions, adoptees, maladjustment, middle childhood, adolescence, social adjustment, adopted children, morbidity, social competence

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